PostHeaderIcon Sugar Cookie Bars

Since I recently posted my favorite sugar cookie recipe I thought it was only fair to share this awesome recipe for sugar cookie bars with you. When I say these are awesome, I mean they are unbelievably awesome! Even though I love the process of making sugar cookies, sometimes I just want a short cut to satisfy my sweet tooth. These are definitely that short cut since they are quick to whip up and sweet enough to satisfy my pregnancy sweet tooth (which at this point, is very sweet). :)

This is the perfect dessert to bring to an upcoming cookout or graduation party. Trust me, everyone will love it….and love you in return. I split this recipe in half and used an 8 x 8″ baking pan (which made about 16 bars). However, the directions call for a large 13 x 18″ (or similar size) baking sheet. If you use a baking pan like I did, the baking time will increase dramatically since the bars are thicker. I’m pretty sure I took them out of the oven after 25-30 minutes of baking but make sure to keep a close eye on them. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make sure you have plenty of help eating these because they are very addicting!

Sugar Cookie Bars

Yield: about 4 dozen bars (depending on which size pan/sheet you use)

Ingredients:
For the cookie bars:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste)
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 Tablespoons milk
Food coloring (optional)

Directions:
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.   Grease a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet . Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla extract, seeds from the vanilla bean, and almond extract.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda.  Whisk together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet and press into an even layer.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla, salt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the milk.  Tint as desired with food coloring.  Spread over the bars in the pan (add sprinkles if desired), cut into bars, and serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from The Repressed Pastry Chef

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